Thursday, April 4, 2013

Garden Greens Pakoras

Pakoras are a delicious deep-fried Indian treat. If you haven't tried them, you are missing out. Big time.

I have discovered a pakora food truck that roams Vancouver. It serves up pretty tasty and interesting pakoras with a variety of veggies (and sometimes apples!) tucked into them. After trying their version, I was determined to make my own.

It just so happens that I often have odds and ends of edibles in my garden almost any time of year and I thought this would be a terrific way to use up bits of broccoli leaves, bits of kale, chard, dandelion or whatever else I can find out there.

The results? Spectacular. The family loved them.

These are a great way to make a simple meal with a nice green salad. Or, start an Indian-inspired feast with them. 

*These are wheat-free, gluten-free and dairy-free for those on restricted diets.

Garden Greens Pakoras
I like to load my pakora batter with veg, if you prefer more batter, double the batter mixture.

1 cup chickpea or besan flour
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp garam masala
1 tsp salt
½ tsp turmeric
pinch cayenne pepper (about 1/16- 1/8 tsp)
1 tbsp vegetable oil, melted butter or coconut oil
1 tsp lemon juice + 2 tbsp water
2/3 cup cold water
mild-flavoured cooking oil

1. To make batter, stir the chickpea flour, coriander, garam masala, salt, turmeric and chili powder into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and add oil and lemon juice with 2 tbsp water and stir together to make a batter and let rest 30 minutes, while you chop veg.
Kale, purple-sprouting broccoli and chard!
These tender kale tips are delicious!

½ onion, thinly sliced
1 russet potato, peeled and finely chopped
1 cup mixed, finely chopped greens (kale, chard, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.)

2. Add chopped vegetables to the batter and stir through. 
3. Heat 1-2 inches of oil in deep, heavy frying pan or saucepan. Drop batter by tablespoons and cook for 1-2 minutes each side, or until cooked through.

Serve with chutney, yogurt or sour cream.

Oven-baked Version: a great way to do up a bunch of these quickly and a bit more healthy too!

1. Cut or grate vegetables quite small.
2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Heat rimmed baking sheet pan for 3 minutes or until hot, add 1tbsp oil and brush over surface of pan. 
3. Pop in oven for another minute and then scoop heaping tbsp of pakora mix on pan like cookies. 
4. Bake for 5 minutes, turn over and bake another 5 minutes.